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Greener future: Maharashtra government to plant 50 lakh mangrove saplings along coastline by 2019

Officials from the mangrove cell told HT that 50,000 saplings had been planted in Airoli, Vashi and a few other parts of Navi Mumbai before the monsoon

mumbai Updated: Jul 05, 2017 00:31 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Mumbai green,Mumbai mangroves
A plantation drive at Sanjay Gandhi National Park on Sunday.(Pramod Thakur/HT PHOTO)

The state’s 1,000-hectare coastline will have fresh mangrove plantations by 2019.

While the forest department’s ambitious plan to plant 4 crore saplings in the state is underway, the state mangrove cell has decided to plant 50 lakh mangroves along the coastline by 2019.

Officials from the mangrove cell told HT that 50,000 saplings had been planted in Airoli, Vashi and a few other parts of Navi Mumbai before the monsoon.

“We want to plant one lakh saplings in October and November this year and another 19 lakh in 2018. In 2019, we will be planting a total of 30 lakh saplings to restore a large portion of mangroves lost over the past decade,” said N Vasudevan, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell.

Van Mahotsav on in full swing
  • With another four days to go, the state has completed planting 2,06,17,807 saplings –1,69,09,504 in forest areas and 37,22,193 in non-forest areas – across the 35 districts in Maharashtra within the first three days of Van Mahotsav
  • Van Mahotsav or Forest day is an annual tree-planting festival, observed from July 1 to 7 across India by planting new saplings
  • While maximum plantations have been done in Ahmednagar, Ghadchiroli, Chandrapur, Osmanabad, Nashik, Nagpur and Latur, Mumbai city has had 1,706 plantations and the suburbs saw 3,255 saplings being planted.

He said the cost of plantation on one hectare is around Rs2 lakh. The cost of the entire project will come to Rs 20 crore.

A majority of the saplings will be of Avicennia Marina, a fruiting mangrove plant with dark green leaves. We will also include other species such as Avicennia officinalis and Rhizophora mucronata,” said Vasudevan.

Mangroves are salt-tolerant plants that protect the state’s coastline from inundation. Mangrove destruction is rampant across the state, despite Bombay high court orders and laws such as the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Indian Forest Act, 1927.

The state currently has a 15,088-ha mangrove cover – 5,471 ha of mangrove forests in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane and the remaining in Raigad, Thane, Palghar, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

Environmentalists said the cell should focus on restoring degraded mangrove ecosystems.

“There is no need to increase the mangrove cover through fresh plantations as they regenerate on their own. The forest department should show the degraded areas they are restoring instead of planting on mudflats and destroying the breeding or congregating grounds of migratory birds,” said Stalin D, director, NGO Vanashakti.

First Published: Jul 04, 2017 10:00 IST